We're living in the midst of what I like to think of as a tile renaissance. Tile, limited for so many years to boring, conservative designs, is now enjoying a moment in the sun, with new and exciting patterns and textures and shapes popping up all the time. We're also seeing people start to use tile in places where you didn't see it before, taking it beyond the typical bathroom and kitchen applications. And one of the places where I'm most excited to see tile making inroads is outdoors.
Of course, it's not that this is really a new idea — in Moroccan architecture, for example, tile has been used outdoors for centuries. But this is a relatively new thing for American homes, and it feels fresh and unexpected. It's cool, in the 'this is hip' sense of the word, and also cool, in the 'this is not hot' sense of the word, since tile can retain the lower nighttime temperatures longer. All of which will make your backyard both a lovely place to look at, and a lovely place to spend time.
In this courtyard from Gardens are for Living, via Vogue, patterned cement tile provides a delightful contrast to the more organic shapes of the greenery — and also gives the space a beautiful focal point.
In this project from Studio Atelier, a boldly patterned cement tile livens up the edge of an outdoor bar.
In this photo from Leva & Bo, intricately patterned cement tile forms the floor of an outdoor shower.
These concrete tiles make for the perfect patio at Bri Emery's Los Angeles home, spotted on Design Love Fest.
Black and white tile is the perfect counterpart to dramatically colored walls in this patio from Lark & Linen.
The gorgeous texture of terra cotta tiles is the perfect backdrop for the bohemian decor of this patio from Sessun.
Even a little outdoor space, like this small patio from Glitter Guide, can benefit from a little tile. Here, the bold pattern gives the small space an extra dose of energy.
And finally, here's a lovely patio from Style by Emily Henderson, whose patterned cement tile makes it the focal point of the whole backyard.
P.S.: If you love the look but tile just isn't in your budget — we've got a solution for that.